A bizarre and other-wordly rare surviving pulp cover painting by Harold W. McCauley for the October 1949 edition of “Amazing Stories.” A lurid and menacing, yet strangely beautiful illustration for the story “Tiger Women of Shadow Valley” by Berkeley Livingston. Story caption reads “There Was Death In Her Embrace.” This inspired work perfectly captures the luminous commercial technique and painterly elements of a successful Haddon Sundblom “Sundblom Shop” graduate and disciple in collision with pin up girl, erotic science fiction pulp culture. From the Charles Martignette estate, work is nicely framed and in a fine state of conservation signed lower right.
Harold William McCauley was born July 11, 1913 in Chicago, Illinois. His mother died from complications after his birth, so he was raised by his father and maternal grandmother.
In 1927 he studied at the Art Institute of Chicago with J. Allen St. John, who inspired him with an interest in science fiction and fantasy art. He later studied at the American Academy of Art in Chicago.
From 1939 to 1942 he worked in Haddon Sundblom’s busy art studio, where he happened to pose for Sundblom’s original painting of the Quaker Oats man.
He served in the Army for the duration of WW2.
After the war he worked as a staff artist at the Chicago-based publishing house, Ziff-Davis, and painted covers for their pulp magazines Amazing, Fantastic Adventures, Imaginations, Imaginative Tales, Mammoth Detective, and Mammoth Western.
In the 1950s he created advertising art for Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Orange Kist, and Schlitz Beer. He also painted pin-ups and calendar art.
In 1958 he painted interior story illustrations of the men’s magazine, Rogue.
In the 1960s he worked for an erotic paperback publisher, Nightstand Library, in Evanston, IL. One day the publishers were tipped off about a police raid, so they hurriedly burned dozens of McCauley’s original paintings in the basement furnace.
In 1962 he moved to Melbourne, Florida, to work as a staff artist for a defense contractor in Palm Bay, The Harris Corporation. He also taught private art classes from his home studio on evenings and weekends.
Harold McCauley died from Pneumonia in a Miami Beach hospital at age 64 on December 16, 1977.